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Lokmat Media to launch Marathi tabloid from Aurangabad

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 13, 2011
The launch will take place by the end of the month. The group is also launching Lokmat Samachar, a Hindi daily, from Jalgaon on May 14.

Lokmat Media is all to set to battle it out with Dainik Bhaskar in Aurangabad and for that, the group is introducing a daily Marathi tabloid from the city, titled Lokmat City Express, by the end of the month.

This is the first time that Lokmat is planning to launch a compact newspaper in Maharashtra and the first edition will be launched in Aurangabad. The tagline of the compact newspaper is 'News, Views, Masti'. On an average, the tabloid will be a 16-page issue. The group has multi-city plans for Lokmat City Express, but as of now, the focus is to launch it in Aurangabad.

Mandir Tendolkar, vice-president, marketing, Lokmat Media, says, "Aurangabad is in the limelight considering the changes that have been happening here in the last 15 years. A fresh entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to invest make this a happening city." The group decided to call the tabloid Lokmat City Express as it "represents the buzz of the city. Most of our new readers are in the younger age band and the ones who really live it up," she adds.

The tabloid will encapsulate articles ranging from serious issues to fun ideas for weekend reading. The content mix of the newspaper will include social and political issues, health, city happenings, features and interviews.

The tabloid will have an initial print run of more than a lakh copies from day one. Lokmat is still working out whether it will bear a cover price, or be distributed free of cost along with Lokmat Marathi. According to the company officials, it will be clear a day prior to hitting the market. However, in all probability, it will go with the main issue, free of cost.

The group is also strengthening its presence in other parts of the state. Lokmat Media will launch its Hindi daily, Lokmat Samachar, from Jalgaon on May 14. Lokmat was, until now, catering to the Hindi reading population of the city through its Aurangabad edition. The group is focussing its attention on north-western Maharashtra, bordering Madhya Pradesh.

With an initial print run of around 20,000 copies, the daily will reach out to readers in Nandurbar, Bhusawal and Dhule, apart from Jalgaon. The Hindi offering will be priced at Re 1.

Talking about the Jalgaon edition of the daily, Tendolkar says, "Jalgaon has a very good potential and is the right place to expand our Hindi daily. Jalgaon is a rich industrial belt with many industrial and residential townships. Also, the city has a high Marwari population, which right now, is reading Hindi dailies from other places. This will be the local Hindi edition of the city." The new entrant will face competition from Nava Bharat's Aurangabad edition, available in Jalgaon.

She adds that Jalgaon has a big community of goldsmiths, and the daily is hopeful that it will contribute a significant quantity to its advertising revenues.

As far as the distribution strategy is concerned, it will use the same newspaper distribution network of hawkers and agents it uses for Lokmat Marathi in Jalgaon.

For the record, Lokmat Samachar was launched in 1989, and is a Hindi language newspaper in Maharashtra. It is published from Nagpur, Aurangabad, Akola and Kolhapur. It has nine sub-editions. Apart from Maharashtra, the daily is available in parts of Madhya Pradesh, as well. The Hindi daily has a circulation of (as per ABC January-December, 2010) 88,905 copies in Nagpur, 20,712 copies in Aurangabad, and 7,231 copies in Akola.

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